Spain have wasted no time in replacing Julen Lopetgui’s replacement as Real Madrid legend Fernando Hierro will be taking up the reigns for the La Roja at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the Spanish federation (RFEF) announced on Wednesday.
Real Madrid on Tuesday announced Lopetegui would be leaving his post at the national team after the World Cup and replacing Zinedine Zidane and speculation was rife that the Spaniard would get the sack within 24 hours.
True to form, the RFEF, at a press conference headed by president Luis Rubiales, announced they would be parting ways with their head coach less than two days before their World Cup opener against Portugal.
OFICIAL | Fernando Hierro asumirá el cargo de seleccionador nacional durante el Campeonato del Mundo de Rusia. https://t.co/g576TRpp3D
— Selección Española de Fútbol (@SeFutbol) June 13, 2018
“Fernando Hierro will assume the position of national coach in the World Championship of Russia and will appear before the media accompanied by the president of the RFEF, Luis Rubiales,” a statement on the federation’s website read.
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“He will then direct his first training and on Friday will debut in Sochi in the premiere of Spain against Portugal.”
The timing of Real’s announcement had been criticised in footballing circles, but the Rubiales’ handling of the whole situation was pilloried on social media as well.
Hierro, a iconic player for Spain and Real Madrid both, doesn’t have much managerial experience and only time will tell if his hurried appointment is a masterstroke or a blunder.
The 2010 world champions have little time to get accustomed to their new coach as their Group B opener against Portugal looms large on the horizon.
Considering the immense depth Spain have at their disposal, they may be able to navigate their way out of the group stages but another tilt at the World Cup now looks far unlikelier than before.